News Story

Hamilton Latter-day Saints Welcome Muslim Neighbours

Three days after horrific attacks on worshippers in two Christchurch mosques, approximately 2,000 people attended a special interfaith devotional in the Hamilton suburb of Temple View on 18 March.        


Families and individuals from many different faiths and cultural backgrounds sat together to show solidarity, not only for the Hamilton Muslim community, but for all Muslims throughout Aotearoa New Zealand who are suffering as a result of the recent terrorist attacks. 

Aaminah, a Fairfield Intermediate student was the first speaker. 


“It is sad what has happened," she said. "I am shocked. I am surprised because I didn’t think that this could happen in New Zealand." 

She continued: "I think the way non-Muslims feel about Muslims has changed. Some people didn’t know where the mosque was, and now, they do. I saw non-Muslims praying with Muslims. They were just copying the movements. It looked kind of wrong but it kind of felt good. 

"What should happen next?" she asked. "The Muslims could come closer with the non-Muslims.  We could have community days more often. We could teach people about Islam and that really we are just like you.” 

Dr. Asad Mohsin, President of the Hamilton Muslim Community, suggested that as a country we need to come together. He said that we are a part of one big family.

Jannat Maqbool, Acting Chair for the Waikato Muslim Association, advocated for community engagement in protecting rights and privileges. 

Natalya Burgess, head girl of Hillcrest High School, also spoke.

Thomas Sutcliffe, Glenview Stake President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, "Our nation has responded with one voice declaring that the terrorism of last week is not who we are," and "the meeting was about affirming that."

Elder Ian S. Ardern of the Pacifc Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared closing remarks. 


He stated that this interfaith service was "an outward demonstration of our inward commitment to mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. 

"We are our brother’s and our sister's keeper, and we must act accordingly." 

He also encouraged all in attendance to make the horror of last week a turning point in our lives and in this country.


A break in the devotional was held in order for Muslim visitors to offer prayers in prepared rooms.

Guests at the devotional included Members of Parliament, Tim Macindoe and David Bennett; Hamilton Deputy Mayor, Martin Gallagher; several Hamilton City Council members; and representatives from the Waikato Interfaith Council.


Newsroom contributors: Vicki Wihongi (article); Kau'i Wihongi (photographs)

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